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7 Cautions For Using Unpaid Interns

Internships have proved to be beneficial to both students and employers, but recent disputes about what an internship entails or what kind of compensation, if any, is involved have resulted in several court cases.

Attorneys Nicholas M. Reiter and Jeffrey S. Tenenbaum of Venable LLC note that there are seven factors that come into play when deciding whether an individual is an unpaid intern or a paid employee. They cite the recent case of Glatt vs. Fox Searchlight Pictures, Inc., as a backdrop to these factors:

  • The extent to which the intern and the employer clearly understand that there is no expectation of compensation.
  • The extent to which the internship provides training that would be similar to that which would be given in an educational environment.
  • The extent to which the internship is tied to the intern’s formal education program by integrated coursework or the receipt of academic credit.
  • The extent to which the internship accommodates the intern’s academic commitment by corresponding to the academic calendar.
  • The extent to which the internship’s duration is limited to the period in which the internship provides the intern with beneficial learning.
  • The extent to which the intern’s work complements, rather than displaces the work of paid employees while providing significant educational benefits to the intern.
  • The extent to which the intern and the employer understand that the internship is conducted without entitlement to a paid job at the conclusion of the internship.

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